Thursday, 22 June 2017

Pope’s Morning Homily: A Good Shepherd Gives His Life for His Sheep

Pope’s Morning Homily: A Good Shepherd Gives His Life for His Sheep

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Says Pastors Must Not Be Näive

Pope Francis during the morning Mass in Santa Marta
A Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis reiterated this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, June 22, 2017.
Drawing inspiration from today’s readings, the Holy Father focused on the figure of the Apostle St. Paul and then turned his attention to the example offered by Don Lorenzo Milani. On Tuesday, June 20, 2017, Pope Francis took a day trip to pray at the tombs of Don Lorenzo Milani, in Barbiana, and Don Primo Mazzolari, in Bozzolo.
Like Fr. Milani, the parish priest of Barbiana, the Pope recalled today, one should take care of one’s neighbour.
Reiterating that “the Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep,” the Jesuit Pope drew on today’s readings to speak on the three characteristics a Good Shepherd should possess.
The Shepherd’s first characteristic, he said, “is to be passionate, zealous.”
“He cannot be a true shepherd without this fire,” Francis said.
The second feature, he continued, is, “someone who knows how to discern: to discern where the dangers are, where the graces are… where the real road is.”
In practice, this means, the Pope said, the Shepherd always, in the good and bad moments, accompanies and patiently “brings them to the fold.” The true shepherd, he added, knows how to discern, on guard against at the seduction of evil.
The third feature, he noted, is “the ability to denounce,” meaning knowing how to report evil and to not be naïve.
“An apostle cannot be naive: ‘Ah, it’s all right, let’s go ahead, eh? It’s all right … Let’s party, everyone … everything is possible …’. because there is the fidelity to the only groom, to Jesus Christ, to be defended. And he knows how to condemn it: that concreteness, to say ‘ no,’ like the parents say to the baby when he starts to clap and goes to the electric socket to put his fingers in : ‘No, no! It’s dangerous!'”
Pope Francis concluded, praying for all the shepherds of the Church to serve the Lord well.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Saint Paul’s Conversion at Heart of Pope’s Morning Homily

Saint Paul’s Conversion at Heart of Pope’s Morning Homily

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Warns Against Rigidity, Double Lives
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Santa Marta
 On the feast of St. Paul’s conversion,  Pope Francis has warned against rigidity and living a double life.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis did so today, May 5, 2017, during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta.
The Pontiff drew inspiration from today’s first Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, which recounts of Saint Paul’s conversion from Saul, “a rigid persecutor,” to Paul, “a meek and patient proclaimer of the Gospel.”
It was at the stoning of St. Stephen, that the name Saul appears, Francis recalled, describing the future evangelist as a “young,” “rigid,” man who was convinced of the rigidity of the law.
While he was rigid, he was “sincere,” Francis reflected. On the other hand, Jesus condemned those who were rigid, without sincerity.
No Double Lives
In his homily, Francis criticized those in the Church nowadays, who use rigidity to cover-up their own sins.
“They are rigid people living a double life: They make themselves look good, sincere, but when no one sees them, they do ugly things. On the other hand, this young man was honest. He believed that.”
“When I say this, I think of the many young people in the Church today who have fallen into the temptation of rigidity. Some are sincere, they are good. We have to pray that the Lord might help them to grow along the path of meekness.”
Others, he said, “use rigidity in order to cover over weakness, sin, personality problems; and they use rigidity” to build themselves up while sacrificing others.
In this way, Pope Francis explained, Saul grew even more rigid, to the point where he couldn’t tolerate what he saw as a heresy, and therefore began to persecute the Christians.
In parentheses, the Pope suggested, at least Saul allowed children to live, noting nowadays, those who persecute Christians don’t even spare children.
Turning to when Saul went to Damascus to arrest Christians, and on the road there, Francis stated Francis recalled how on the way, he encountered “another Man, who spoke with a language of meekness: ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’”
Sincerity, Meekness
“This rigid young man, who had become a rigid man – but sincere! – was made a little child, and allowed himself to be led where the Lord called him.”
This is, Francis pointed out, the power of the meekness of the Lord.”
Saul, having become Paul, the Jesuit Pope pointed out, proclaimed the Lord to the very end, and suffered for Him.
“He, who had persecuted the Lord with the zeal of the law,” Francis stressed, “said to the Christians, ‘With those same things by which you have drawn away from God, with which you have sinned – with the mind, with the body, with everything – with those same members now you are perfect, you give glory to God.’”
Warning Against Rigidity
Urging those present to pray for those who are rigid, “that they may follow the way of meekness of Jesus,” the Pope noted there is a dialogue between what is sufficient, rigidity, and meekness.
This is, he explained, “the dialogue between a sincere man and Jesus, who speaks to him with sweetness.”
Thus, he said, “begins the story of this man whom we have known from his youth, in the stoning of Stephen, who would end up betrayed by an internal conflict among Christians.”
Path of Christians
In the minds of some, the Holy Father admitted, the life of Saint Paul “is a failure,” like that of Christ.
Yet, he admonished, “this is the path of the Christian: to go forward along the path marked out by Jesus: the path of preaching, the path of suffering, the path of the Cross, the path of the resurrection.”
Pope Francis concluded his homily with the following prayer: “Today, in a special way, let us pray to Saul for those in the Church who are rigid: for the rigid who are sincere, as he was, who have zeal, but are mistaken. And for the rigid who are hypocrites, those who live a double life.”

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Pope Francis gives TED talk: 'We build future together

His Holiness Pope Francis: Why the only future worth building includes everyone 

A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you, says His Holiness Pope Francis in this searing TED Talk delivered directly from Vatican City. 

In a hopeful message to people of all faiths, to those who have power as well as those who don't, the spiritual leader provides illuminating commentary on the world as we currently find it and calls for equality, solidarity and tenderness to prevail. 
"Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the 'other' is not a statistic, or a number," he says. "We all need each other."

Monday, 13 March 2017


Lk 6:38 Give and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.

What is Almsgiving?
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "Any material favour done to assist the needy, and prompted by charity, is almsgiving. Put differently, almsgiving implies a material service rendered to the poor for Christ's sake."
Been Tantalised Lately?
There are several references in the Scriptures to almsgiving but I am particularly fascinated by this one:
  • My child, do not refuse the poor a livelihood, do not tantalise the needy. (Sir 4:1 NJB). The word “tantalise” means to torment or tease someone with the sight or promise of something that is unobtainable. The word derives from Tantalus in Greek mythology who was punished for his crimes by being provided with fruits and water which receded whenever he reached for them. If this isn’t hell, I don’t know what is. Wisdom 11:15,16 says that, “By what things a man sinneth by the same also he is tormented.” In essence, to give alms to the needy avails you of God’s mercy. Not to give is to deny yourself the possibility of receiving.
How to Give Alms
Often at Mass people reach into their pockets to offer a spare Naira note or change for the offertory basket? Spare change is not the principle that should guide almsgiving or our weekly Mass offerings. Giving alms requires a generous heart and prudential reasoning.
To give requires prudence:
  • We must reflect on the past (the concrete needs of the poor and the nature of our commitments to parish life);
  • Anticipate the future (how to determine what we can give while still supporting our own family);
  • In order to act well in the present (decide on how much and on whom to give).
Who to Give Alms
In order to give alms with the right disposition, we need to identify the poor. St. Thomas Aquinas provides us with categories of poverty to enhance our discernment:
  • Those in extreme poverty lack the necessities to sustain life.
  • Those in serious poverty would fall into decline without material help.
  • Those in common poverty struggle to provide the necessities of life.
Each of these forms of poverty offers opportunities for almsgiving. Note too, that one does not have to give money: One can give of one’s time, one’s talents, provide a service, provide a meal or a specific commodity in need. The friend who cooks you a meal when you have a new baby, or who assists you with transport fare when you can’t afford it, has given alms. The more intimately we know the poor to whom we give alms, the more effective our almsgiving.
Benefits of Almsgiving
  • On a man generous with food, blessings are invoked, and the testimony to his goodness is lasting (Sir 31:23).
  • He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor. (Prov 22:9)
  • Whoever despises his neighbour is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor. (Prov 14:21)
  • And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. (Mat 10:42)
  • Alms atone for sins. He who does a kindness is remembered afterward; when he falls, he finds a support." (Sir 3:29b-30)
  • No one who gives to the poor will ever go short, but whoever closes his eyes will have curses in plenty (Prov 28:27)
  • He who oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is kind to the needy honours him. (Prov 14:31).
Lord, accept my sacrifices today for the good of the poor and for the Church as a pleasing sacrifice.
#LentChallenge Day 11:
Give help to someone in need today. Read Dan 9:4-10; Ps 79:8-13; Lk 6:36-38

Sunday, 12 March 2017

ANGELUS ADDRESS: On Jesus’ Transfiguration on Mount Tabor

“To Show His Disciples His Glory” and “To Indicate Where the Cross Leads To”

Angelus 30 August 2015
Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
* * *
Before the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
The Gospel of this Second Sunday of Lent presents to us the account of Jesus’ Transfiguration (cf. Matthew 17:1-9). Taking three of the Apostles, Peter, James and John aside, He led them up a high mountain, where this singular phenomenon happened: Jesus’ face “shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light” (v. 2). Thus the Lord made that divine glory shine in His person, which could be received with faith in His preaching and in His miraculous gestures. And, accompanying the Transfiguration on the mountain was the apparition of Moses and Elijah, “talking with Him” (v. 3).
The “luminosity” that characterized this extraordinary event symbolized the purpose: to illumine the minds and hearts of the disciples, so that they could understand clearly who their Master was. It was a flash of light that opened suddenly on the mystery of Jesus and illumined His whole person and His whole story.
Now firmly on the way to Jerusalem, where He would suffer the condemnation to death by crucifixion, Jesus wished to prepare His own for this scandal — the scandal of the Cross –, for this scandal too strong for their faith and, at the same time, announce ahead of time His Resurrection, manifesting himself as the Messiah, the Son of God. And Jesus prepares them there for that sad moment of so much grief. In fact, Jesus was showing himself a different Messiah in regard to the expectations, to what they imagined about the Messiah, how the Messiah was: not a powerful and glorious king, but a humble and vulnerable Servant; not a lord of great wealth, sign of blessing, but a poor man who had no place to lay His head; not a Patriarch with numerous descendants, but a celibate without a home and without a nest. It was truly a revelation of God turned upside down, and the most disconcerting sign of this scandalous reversal is the cross. But precisely through the cross Jesus will attain His glorious Resurrection, which will be definitive, not like this Transfiguration that lasted a moment, an instant.
Jesus transfigured on Mount Tabor wished to show His disciples His glory not to avoid their passing through the cross, but to indicate where the cross leads to. One who dies with Christ, will rise with Christ. And the cross is the door of the Resurrection. One who fights with Him, will triumph with Him. This is the message of hope contained in Christ’s Cross, exhorting to fortitude in our existence. The Christian Cross is not a furnishing of the home or an ornament to wear, but the Christian cross is an appeal to the love with which Jesus sacrificed Himself to save humanity from evil and from sin. In this Lenten Season, we contemplate with devotion the image of the crucifix, Jesus on the cross: it is the symbol of the Christian faith; it is the emblem of Jesus, dead and risen for us. Let us so regard the Cross as marking the stages of our Lenten itinerary, to understand increasingly the gravity of sin and the value of the sacrifice with which the Redeemer saved us all.
The Holy Virgin was able t contemplate Jesus’ glory hidden in His humanity. May she help us to be with Him in silent prayer, and to let ourselves by illumined by His presence, to bear in our heart, through the darkest nights, a reflection of His glory.
[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I express my closeness to the people of Guatemala, who are mourning for the serious and sad fire that broke out in the Virgin of the Assumption House of Refuge, causing victims and wounds among the girls living there. May the Lord welcome their souls, heal the wounds, console their grieving families and the whole nation. I pray and ask you to pray with me for all girls and boys victims of violence, mistreatments, exploitation and wars. This is a plague, this is a hidden scream which must be heard by all of us and which we cannot continue to pretend that we do not see or hear it.
A warm greeting goes to you all here present, faithful of Rome and of so many parts of the world. I greet the pilgrims of Fribourg and Mannheim, in Germany, as well as those of Lebanon and the marathoners of Portugal.
I greet the parish groups from Gioiosa Ionica and Pachino; the youngsters of Lodi who are preparing for their “Profession of Faith”; the students of Dalmine and Busto Arsizio: what you say is true: “No to the disposable culture” [he reads the banner]; and the “Drop after Drop” youth choir of Bergamo.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon!
[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Pope’s Morning Homily: True Christians Have Cheerful Faces, Joyful Eyes and Hearts

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Reminds We Cannot Have 2 Masters

L'Osservatore Romano
True Christians have cheerful faces and joy in their eyes…
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis made this observation during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, as he reflected on the readings from yesterday and today.
In yesterday’s, the rich young man wanted to follow the Lord, but his wealth led him to follow money instead. Jesus’ words in this story worry the disciples, as he tells them it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
In today’s reading from St Mark’s Gospel, the Pope said, we see Peter asking the Lord what will happen to them as they have given up everything to follow him.
With these in mind, the Holy Father called on faithful to consider the relationship between God and money, and recalling that we cannot serve two masters.
Can’t Serve 2 Masters
The Jesuit Pope repeated the Gospel words: “there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel, who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age.”
This, Francis noted, demonstrates that the Lord “is incapable of giving less than everything,”
“When He gives us something, He gives all of himself,” he said.
However, he noted, this means entering into a different way of thinking, a different way of behaving, for Jesus gives everything of Himself, “because the fullness of God is a fullness emptied out on the Cross.”
The gift of God, the Pope insisted, is a fullness which is emptied out. And this is also the Christian’s way of being, he noted, namely “to seek and receive a fullness which is emptied out and to follow on that path, which is not easy.”
How Do We Know If We Are Following This Path… Cheerfulness
“How do we recognize that we are following this path of giving everything in order to receive everything,” Francis asked, reminding that the words of the day’s first reading tell us to “pay homage to the Lord, and do not spare your freewill gifts.
“With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy”. Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means.
“A cheerful face and eyes full of joy, the Pope said, these are the signs that we’re following this path of all and nothing, of fullness emptied out.”
Francis recalled that the face of the rich young man, not capable of receiving and welcoming this fullness emptied out, fell and he became very sad, whereas the saints and Peter were able to receive it.
“Amid all their trials and difficulties, they had cheerful faces and hearts full of joy.”
Francis concluded, recalling the Chilean saint Alberto Hurtado who worked with the poor amidst such difficulty, persecution and suffering, yet his words were ’I’m happy, Lord, I’m happy’.
“May he teach us to follow this difficult path of all and nothing, of Christ’s fullness emptied out and to be able to say at all times ’I’m happy, Lord, I’m happy’” he prayed.

Lenten Retreat: ‘Keep Together Love of God and That of the Poor’

Silence, Anointing and the Two Loves

Ariccia, Spiritual Exercices © PHOTO.VA - OSSERVATORE ROMANO
“Jesus’ last words at the beginning of His Passion,” in Saint Matthew, were the object of the second and third meditations proposed by Father Giulio Michelini, OFM, during Pope Francis’ retreat and that of his collaborators, at Arriccia on Monday, March 6, 2017. The Franciscan recommended that prayer and aid to the poor, the love of God and that of the poor not be separated, indicated Vatican Radio’s summary in Italian.
The Silence of Jesus and Human Silences
Father Michelini meditated first on Jesus’ silence before His accusers. He noted that words sometimes are useless, when the interlocutors are powerful opponents or because power does not allow one to express oneself. Francis of Assisi recommended to his Brothers to be in the midst of infidels in two ways: either proclaiming the Gospel if they could or with their simple vivifying presence.
Quoting Rabbi Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), considered the founder of modern Hassidism, he noted that the words that come out of the mouth of masters, or of those who pray without having a heart turned to heaven do not rise, but fill the house from one wall to the other and from the floor to the ceiling.”
Jesus, continued the preacher, was silent before those who accused him of being a blasphemer and wanted to destroy Him. It was a silence broken by the cry with which Jesus ended His earthly life and by the thrust of the lance.
However, the Franciscan observed, there are different forms of silence: the silence of rancor that ponders vengeance, or the silence of one, as Elie Wiesel said, who ”never helps the victims.”
Jesus’ silence, he added, is “disarming,” “disarmed” and “serene.” But beyond that, there is the “most burning” silence,” that of God. And Jesus entrusted Himself to the Father’s silence.
My Silences and the Professionals of the Sacred 
The preacher invited to examine: How could I consider my silences? “Thinking of that of Jesus, I ask myself first of all if I communicate the faith by words or if my life is evangelizing…”
Father Michelini then evoked the different personages that appear in this passage of Matthew: Caiaphas, the chief priests and the elders of the people, who decided to arrest Jesus, but not during the feast to avoid a revolt. He immediately observed that in no case is it about stigmatizing the Jews because this attitude concerns a religious hierarchy that can represent all sorts of religious institutions: it is an attitude that loses the right perspective believing that it serves God. It is the confrontation between two logics: on one side there is Jesus, a practicing Jew but a “layman” who is preparing to celebrate the Passover, and on the other the great priests who are preparing to kill an innocent, who are concerned with the feast in the sense of its exterior unfolding.
The preacher invited to pose oneself the question: am I a “professional of the sacred,” admitting compromises to save face, the institution, to the detriment of persons’ rights?
The Anointing at Bethany or the Two Loves
Father Michelini recalled that the anointing at Bethany comes just after the authorities’ decision aimed at Jesus: a woman pours precious perfume on Jesus’ head. The four Gospels report the scene, though there are differences. Jesus defends the woman who seems to be the only one who understands what is going to happen to Jesus and she carries out an intensely symbolic gesture.
The anointing is at once royal and funerary. Jesus praises the woman’s gesture and rejects the arguments of him who felt that the perfume could have been sold to give the money to the poor, or it was the moment to “serve Jesus” Italian biblicist Sergio Quinzio (1927-1996) observed.
The poor are numerous, noted the preacher: those who do not take part in the liturgies because they are aged or sick, or those who knock on our doors only asking to be heard.
“And many are those who do not have the courage to knock on our doors and to whom we should go. And if we are sincere it is because we examine ourselves interiorly, we cannot place ourselves among the poor: at bottom each one is a poor one for the other. Jesus’ words say that His mission is not finished with his historical existence and, in fact, it advances with the engagement of the believing community towards all the poor, ourselves included.”
Then Father Michelini quoted the comment of a Poor Clare on the anointing, regarding the “waste” of the precious perfume. The preacher stressed that, with their whole life the nun and all cloistered Sisters render visible the gift that we were the first to receive from Jesus, who offered himself totally for us.
Therefore, he invited to keep together the love of God and the love of neighbor: “I ask myself if I chose what most corresponds to me, or what is ‘easier,’ and then I anoint Jesus’ feet with the liturgy, with prayer, but neglect the poor or, rather, do I consecrate myself to the poor, but forget to pray, and to render Him honor. Or am I able to keep together the love of God and that of the poor?”

Monday, 28 November 2016

Pope’s Morning Homily: ‘Never Converse With the Devil’

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Says ‘Hope’ to Encounter Jesus
L'Osservatore Romano
Never converse with the devil, who seduces and ruins lives.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this to faithful during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, drawing from today’s readings, which continued reflecting on the end of the world, as discussed in the Book of Revelations.
Seducer, Liar, Trickster
The Pontiff noted how in today’s reading the angel seizes the serpent, chains it up and throws it into the abyss, which is then locked and sealed, and stressed that the serpent or devil is thrown into the abyss “so that it would no longer lead the nations astray” because it is the seducer.
“He is a liar and what’s more is the father of lies, he generates lies and is a trickster. He makes you believe that if you eat this apple you will be like a God. He sells it to you like this and you buy it and in the end he tricks you, deceives you and ruins your life.
“‘But father, what can we do to avoid being deceived by the devil?’ Jesus teaches us: never converse with the devil. One does not converse with him. What did Jesus do with the devil?  He chased him away, he asked his name but did not hold a dialogue with him.”
How to Defend Oneself
Pope Francis went on to explain how when Jesus was in the wilderness, he defended himself when replying to the devil by using the Word of God and the Word of the Bible.
Thus, the Argentine Pope stressed, we must never converse with this liar and trickster who seeks our ruin and who for this reason will be thrown into the abyss.
The Holy Father also described how today’s reading shows how the Lord will judge the great and the lowly “according to their deeds,” with the damned being thrown into the pool of fire. Francis described this as the “second death.”
Not a Torture Chamber
“Eternal damnation is not a torture chamber,” he said. “That’s a description of this second death: it is a death. And those who will not be received in the Kingdom of God, it’s because they have not drawn close to the Lord. These are the people who journeyed along their own path, distancing themselves from the Lord and passing in front of the Lord but then choosing to walk away from Him.”
What eternal damnation is, he explained, is “continually distancing oneself from God.”
“It is the worst pain, an unsatisfied heart, a heart that was created to find God but which, out of arrogance and self-confidence, distances itself from God.”
Distancing oneself from God Who gives happiness and Who loves us so much, the Pontiff admonished, is the “fire,” and the road to eternal damnation.
Pointing out how the reading’s final image ends with a vision of hope, Francis noted that if with humility, we open our hearts, we will have joy, salvation, and will receive Jesus’ forgiveness.
“Hope is what opens our hearts to the encounter with Jesus. This is what awaits us: the encounter with Jesus. It’s beautiful, very beautiful,” Pope Francis said, concluding, “He asks us only to be humble and say ‘Lord.’ It’s enough to say that word and He will do the rest.”

Friday, 25 November 2016

Pope Suggests a Prayer for Before the Tabernacle: ‘You Are God, I Am a Poor Child Loved by You’

In Morning Homily Says That in Prayer We’re Good at Asking, But We Must Also Learn to Praise
Casa Santa Marta
© PHOTO.VA - Osservatore Romano
From Vatican Radio:
Pope Francis said on Thursday that corruption is a form of blasphemy which leads to the worship of money and the exploitation of others. His words came during the homily at his regular Santa Marta Mass for this last week of the Church’s liturgical year. Reflecting on the readings for the day which speak of the end of the world, of judgement and redemption for God’s faithful people, Pope Francis talked about corruption which led to the downfall of the great city of Babylon.
Corruption is a blasphemous way of living, the Pope warned, it’s the language of Babylon and worldly living. Corruption is a form of blasphemy where there is no God, he went on, but only the gods of money and wellbeing through the exploitation of others. Yet this worldliness which seduces the powerful will be torn down, the Pope said, just as we hear the victory cry of the angel, in the reading from Revelation, announcing the fall of Babylon with its empire of vanity, pride and evil.
In contrast to the victory cry of the angel proclaiming the fall of this corrupt civilisation, Pope Francis said, there is another powerful voice of the great multitude praising God and saying: “Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God”. This is the voice of the people of God who will be saved because they are sinners but not corrupt, he stressed.
A sinner who knows how to ask for forgiveness and seeks salvation in Jesus Christ learns how to adore God, though this is not an easy task for Christians. We are good at praying when we’re asking for something, he said, but we must also learn how to praise God. Better to learn now, he added, than have to learn in a hurry when the end times come. The Pope insisted on the beauty of praying in front of the tabernacle, saying simply: “You are God, I am a poor child loved by You”.
Finally the Pope noted that in the reading there is a third voice, the whispering voice of the angel who tells the author to write: “Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” The Lord’s invitation is not a cry, but rather a gentle voice that speaks to the heart, the Pope said, just like the voice of God speaking to Elijah. When God speaks to our hearts in this way, he said, it is like a breath of silent sound.
This invitation to the wedding feast, according to the parable of Jesus, will be our salvation. Those invited include the bad and the good, the blind, the deaf and the lame, all of us sinners who have enough humility in our hearts to say: “I am a sinner and God will save me”.
The Gospel passage concludes by reminding us that “when these signs begin to happen” – that is the destruction of pride and vanity – “stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand”. May the Lord give us grace, the Pope said, to prepare ourselves and to listen to that voice saying “Come, come, come faithful servant – sinner but faithful – come to the wedding feast of your Lord”.
Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:

Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 506

Reading 1 RV 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9A

I, John, saw another angel coming down from heaven,
having great authority,
and the earth became illumined by his splendor.
He cried out in a mighty voice:
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.
She has become a haunt for demons.
She is a cage for every unclean spirit,
a cage for every unclean bird,
a cage for every unclean and disgusting beast.”
A mighty angel picked up a stone like a huge millstone
and threw it into the sea and said:
“With such force will Babylon the great city be thrown down,
and will never be found again.
No melodies of harpists and musicians,
flutists and trumpeters,
will ever be heard in you again.
No craftsmen in any trade
will ever be found in you again.
No sound of the millstone
will ever be heard in you again.
No light from a lamp
will ever be seen in you again.
No voices of bride and groom
will ever be heard in you again.
Because your merchants were the great ones of the world,
all nations were led astray by your magic potion.”
After this I heard what sounded like
the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying:
Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God,
for true and just are his judgments.
He has condemned the great harlot
who corrupted the earth with her harlotry.
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
They said a second time:
“Alleluia! Smoke will rise from her forever and ever.”
Then the angel said to me, “Write this:
Blessed are those who have been called
to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 100:1B-2, 3, 4, 5

R. (Rev. 19: 9a) Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
For he is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Alleluia LK 21:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 21:20-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,
know that its desolation is at hand.
Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Let those within the city escape from it,
and let those in the countryside not enter the city,
for these days are the time of punishment
when all the Scriptures are fulfilled.
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days,
for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth
and a wrathful judgment upon this people.
They will fall by the edge of the sword
and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles;
and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.”

Friday, 18 November 2016

Pope’s Morning Homily: ‘Be Courageous’

At Casa Santa Marta, Tells Faithful to Examine Whether They Are Too Attached to Money, Embrace Christian Poverty
Santa Marta
© PHOTO.VA - Osservatore Romano
Are you too attached to money? Maybe you should make an examination of conscience.
According to Vatican Radio, during his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, Pope Francis called on those present to reflect on this and to be courageous to embrace Christian poverty,
The Holy Father drew his inspiration from today’s Gospel where Jesus drove out the traders from the temple, accusing them of transforming it into a den of thieves.
Reflecting on money’s power and allure, the Jesuit Pontiff noted, how Jesus’s action helps us to understand “where the seed of the antichrist is contained, the seed of the enemy that ruins his Kingdom: attachment to money.”
“Our Lord God, the house of our Lord God is a house of prayer. Our encounter with the Lord (is) with the God of love. And the money-lord that enters into the house of God, is constantly seeking to enter inside. And those people who were changing money or selling things, they were renting their places, right? – from the priests… the priests were renting out those places and then received money.
“This is the lord,” the Pope warned, “that can ruin our life and can lead us to end our life in a bad way, without happiness, without the joy of serving the true Lord who is the only one capable of giving us that true joy.”
Francis then asked his listeners: “How is your attachment to money?  Are you attached to money?”
“The people of God have a great flair for accepting, for canonizing as well as condemning – because the people of God are capable of condemning – for forgiving so many weaknesses, so many sins by priests but they cannot forgive two of them: attachment to money, because when they see a priest attached to money, they do not forgive him, and mistreating people, because when a priest mistreats the faithful:
“The people of God can’t accept this and they do not forgive him.
“It’s sad to see,” the Pontiff also reflected, “a priest who’s at the end of his life, he’s in agony, he’s in a coma and his relatives are there like vultures, looking to see what they can take away.
Pope Francis then went on to urge faithful to make an examination of conscience.
Let us grant this pleasure to the Lord, a true examination of our conscience: ‘Lord, are you my Lord or is it these teraphims hidden in my heart, this idol of money?’
“Be courageous,” he also stressed, saying, “Make a choice. Sufficient money like that of an honest worker, sufficient savings like those of an honest worker. But all these financial interests are not permissible, this is idolatry. May the Lord grant us all the grace of Christian poverty.”
“May the Lord,” concluded the Pope, “give us the grace of the poverty of working people, those who work and earn a fair wage and who do not seek any more.”
Culled fro: